In November 2003, in my then role as Assistant to the Chief Executive for Charlton Athletic FC, I gave a ‘welcome to The Valley’ speech at the start of a conference of Headteachers and School Secretaries in the Millennium Lounge, organised by Greenwich Council.
At the coffee break I popped back to see how the conference was going and to speak to some of the delegates. I spoke to two ladies and asked them which school they were representing. They then introduced themselves as the Headteacher and Secretary of Conway Primary School in Plumstead and asked me if I knew the school. I replied that I knew the school well as it is the Primary School that I went to!
A day or so later I was contacted by Conway’s Chair of Governors, Steve Piper, himself a Charlton fan to ask me if I would be interested in becoming a school governor. Two weeks later I found myself being photographed by the ‘NewsShopper’ outside the school gates in Gallosson Road – the same school gates I walked out of for the last time (or so I thought) in 1967 to start my secondary education – for the press release to announce my appointment as a Governor of Conway Primary School.
Now, 17 years on and three Headteachers later I’ve decided to step down from the Governing body, so tonight’s meeting will be my last as a Governor of Conway Primary.
I’m very proud of what we have achieved together at Conway over the past 17 years. We’ve faced many challenges and there have been some very difficult situations to overcome but through it all, the school has consistently produced outstanding results, well above National and Local Authority Standards.
I’m sad to leave but I think it’s the right time to step down. This has been such a difficult year but the way everyone at Conway has responded to the challenges has been so impressive.
My time at Charlton Athletic, when we more than held our own in the Premier League, taught me that to really achieve as an organisation you must have the right mix of leadership, talent, dedication, hard work, commitment and team spirit. Conway Primary School has all these qualities in abundance.
As I mentioned, in my time at the school I have worked with three Headteachers and I can honestly say that Yalini Carlsson-Ruban is one of the best around. Ably supported by a superb group of teachers and staff, Yalini is driven to ensure that the children at Conway have the best possible education.
There have been many changes of Governors over the past 17 years but the constant factor has been the quite superb Chairmanship of the Governing Body by the force of nature that is Steve Piper.
I have absolutely no doubt that with Steve, Yalini and Keith Robertson the impressive Business Manager in place, Conway School will go from strength to strength and carry on achieving outstanding results.
I would obviously have preferred to have my last Governors’ meeting in person at the school but of course, this isn’t possible so it’ll be via Zoom.
Back in 2003 when I accepted the offer to become a Governor I said that I was looking forward to playing my part in making Conway Primary School the first choice for parents in the area. 17 years on I think my colleagues and I can definitely say that we achieved this.
Right, now where is that Zoom link for tonight…..